List Of Contents | Contents of An Introduction to Yoga
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happiness" that you find in every man and woman, in every
sentient creature. Has it ever struck you how surely you are
justifying that analysis of your own nature by the way you accept
happiness as your right, and resent misery, and ask what you have
done to deserve it? You do not ask the same about happiness,
which is the natural result of your own nature. The thing that
has to be explained is not happiness but pain, the things that
are against the nature of the Self that is bliss. And so, looking
into this, we see how desire and will are both the determination
to be happy. But the one is ignorant, drawn out by outer objects;
the other is self-conscious, initiated and ruled from within.
Desire is evoked and directed from outside; and when the same
aspect rules from within, it is will. There is no difference in
their nature. Hence desire on the Path of Forthgoing becomes will
on the Path of Return.

When desire, thought and work are changed into will, reason and
sacrifice, then the man is turning homewards, then he lives by

When a man has really renounced, a strange change takes place. On
the Path of Forthgoing, you must fight for everything you want to
get; on the Path of Return, nature pours her treasures at your
feet. When a man has ceased to desire them, then all treasures
pour down upon him, for he has become a channel through which all
good gifts flow to those around him. Seek the good, give up
grasping, and then everything will be yours. Cease to ask that
your own little water tank may be filled, and you will become a
pipe, joined to the living source of all waters, the source which
never runs dry, the waters which spring up unfailingly.
Renunciation means the power of unceasing work for the good of
all, work which cannot fail, because wrought by the Supreme
Worker through His servant.

If you are engaged in any true work of charity, and your means
are limited and the wealth does not flow into your hands, what
does it mean? It means that you have not yet learnt the true
renunciation. You are clinging to the visible, to the fruit of
action, and so the wealth does not pour through your hands.

Purification of Bodies

The unfolding of powers belongs to the side of consciousness;
purification of bodies belongs to the side of matter. You must
purify each of your three working bodies--mental, astral and
physical. Without that purification you had better leave yoga
alone. First of all, how shall you purify the thought body? By
right thinking. Then you must use imagination, your great
creative tool, once more. Imagine things, and, imagining them,
you will form your thought-body into the organisation that you
desire. Imagine something strongly, as the painter imagines when
he is going to paint. Visualise an object if you have the power
of visualisation at all: if you have not, try to make it. It is
an artistic faculty, of course, hut most people have it more or
less. See how far you can reproduce perfectly a face you see
daily. By such practice you will be strengthening your
imagination, and by strengthening your imagination you will be
making the great tool with which you have to practice in Yoga.

There is another use of the imagination which is very valuable.
If you will imagine in your thought-body the presence of the
qualities that you desire to have, and the absence of those which
you desire not to have, you are half-way to having and not having
them. Also, many of the troubles of your life might be weakened
if you would imagine them on right lines before you have to go
through them. Why do you wait helplessly until you meet them in
the physical world. If you thought of your coming trouble in the
morning, and thought of yourself as acting perfectly in the midst
of it (you should never scruple to imagine yourself perfect),
when the thing turned up in the day, it would have lost its
power, and you would no longer feel the sting to the same extent.
Now each of you must have in your life something that troubles
you. Think of yourself as facing that trouble and not minding it,
and when it comes, you will be what you have been thinking. You
might get rid of half your troubles and your faults, if you would
deal with them through your imagination.

As the thought body, becomes purified in this way, you must turn
to the astral body. The astral body is purified by right desire.
Desire nobly, and the astral body will evolve the organs of good
desires instead of the organs of evil ones. The secret of all
progress is to think and desire the highest, never dwelling on
the fault, the weakness, the error, but always on the perfected
power, and slowly in that way you will be able to build up
perfection in yourself. Think and desire, then, in order to
purify the thought body and the astral body.

And how shall you purify the physical body? You must regulate it
in all its activities--in sleep, in food, in exercise, in
everything. You cannot have a pure physical body with impure
mental and astral bodies so that the work of imagination helps
also in the purification of the physical. But you must also
regulate the physical body in all its activities. Take for
instance, food. The Indian says truly that every sort of food has
a dominant quality in it, either rhythm, or activity, or inertia,
and that all foods fall under one of these heads. Now the man who
is to be a yogi must not touch any food which is on the way to
decay. Those things belong to the tamasic foods--all foods, for
instance, of the nature of game, of venison, all food which is
showing signs of decay (all alcohol is a product of decay), are
to be avoided. Flesh foods come under the quality of activity.
All flesh foods are really stimulants. All forms in the animal
kingdom are built up to express animal desires and animal
activities. The yogi cannot afford to use these in a body meant
for the higher processes of thought. Vitality, yes, they will
give that; strength, which does not last, they will give that; a
sudden spurs of energy, yes, meat will give that; but those are
not the things which the yogi wants; so he puts aside all those
foods as not available for the work he desires, and chooses his
food out of the most highly vitalised products. All the foods
which tend to growth, those are the most highly vitalised, grain,
out of which the new plant will grow, is packed full of the most
nutritious substances; fruits; all those things which have growth
as their next stage in the life cycle, those are the rhythmic
foods, full of life, and building up a body sensitive and strong
at the same time.

Dwellers on the Threshold

Of these there are many kinds. First, elementals. They try to bar
the astral plane against man. And naturally so, because they are
concerned with the building up of the lower kingdoms, these
elementals of form, the Rupa Devas; and to them man is a really
hateful creature, because of his destructive properties. That is
why they dislike him so much. He spoils their work wherever he
goes, tramples down vegetable things, and kills animals, so that
the whole of that great kingdom of nature hates the name of man.
They band themselves together to stop the one who is just taking
his first conscious steps on the astral plane, and try to
frighten him, for they fear that he is bringing destructiveness
into the new world. They cannot do anything, if you do not mind
them. When that rush of elemental force comes against the man
entering on the astral plane, he must remain quiet, indifferent,
taking up the position: "I am a higher product of evolution than
you are; you can do nothing to me. I am your friend, not your
enemy, Peace!" If he be strong enough to take up that position,
the great wave of elemental force will roll aside and let him
through. The seemingly causeless fears which some feel at night
are largely due to this hostility. You are, at night, more
sensitive to the astral plane than during the day, and the
dislike of the beings on the plane for man is felt more strongly.
But when the elementals find you are not destructive, not an
embodiment of ruin, they become as friendly to you as they were
before hostile. That is the first form of the dweller on the
threshold. Here again the importance of pure and rhythmic food
comes in; because if you use meat and alcohol, you attract the
lower elementals of the plane, those that take pleasure in the
scent of blood and spirits, and they will inevitably prevent your
seeing and understanding things clearly. They will surge round
you, impress their thoughts upon you, force their impressions on
your astral body, so that you may have a kind of shell of
objectionable hangers-on to your aura, who will much obstruct you
in your efforts to see and hear correctly. That is the chief
reason why every one who is teaching Yoga on the right-hand path
absolutely forbids indulgence in meat and alcohol.

The second form of the dweller on the threshold is the thought
forms of our own past. Those forms, growing out of the evil of
lives that lie behind us, thought forms of wickedness of all
kinds, those face us when we first come into touch with the
astral plane, really belonging to us, but appearing as outside
forms, as objects; and they try to scare back their creator. You
can only conquer them by sternly repudiating them: "You are no
longer mine; you belong to my past, and not to my present. I will
give you none of my life." Thus you will gradually exhaust and
finally annihilate them. This is perhaps one of the most painful
difficulties that one has to face in treading the astral plane in
consciousness for the first time. Of course, where a person has
in any way been mixed up with objectionable thought forms of the
stronger kind, such as those brought about by practicing black
magic, there this particular form of the dweller will be much
stronger and more dangerous, and often desperate is the struggle
between the neophyte and these dwellers from his past backed up
by the masters of the black side.

Now we come to one of the most terrible forms of the dwellers on

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